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Stalled Chesapeake Cleanup

Back to the future on cleaning the bay​

Tuesday, November 25, 2008; Page A14

SHOW OF HANDS. How many of you were shocked -- shocked! -- to learn that the Chesapeake Executive Council decided last week to ditch its 25-year-old goal of cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay in favor of short-term achievements? Yeah, that's what we thought: none of you. The drive to cleanse one of the world's largest estuaries long has been swamped by overdevelopment and the lack of political will to make the hard decisions that would turn the dream of a pristine Chesapeake Bay into a reality.

Stating the obvious, Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) told at a meeting of the council, "The history of setting the 10-year goals has been, bluntly, a failure." And with that, the third deadline since 1983 to clean up the bay -- this time by 2010 -- was history. Now, the Chesapeake Executive Council wants to focus on attainable short-term goals. The only problem is that the council didn't articulate what those goals would be and said six more months of study would be needed before they could be specified. This is beyond ridiculous.

Things are bad in the 64,000 square miles of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed, and it's no mystery why. Overdevelopment has changed the ecology of the region. Warm, polluted water flows unfiltered from paved surfaces into tributaries such as the Potomac River, which earned a D-plus for cleanliness this month from the Potomac Conservancy, for the second year in a row. Another problem is agricultural runoff, laden with nutrients that feed algal blooms and create oxygen-deprived dead zones. The result is a dirty bay and the dying-off of species that gave the waterway its vitality.

Missing have been consistent policies throughout the watershed that reduce the flow of pollutants into the Chesapeake. Widespread adoption of smart growth and green building methods would help; so would controlling agricultural runoff by instituting an enforceable system based on total maximum daily load of pollution in the bay and its tributaries. But until the leaders around the watershed display the courage to act -- rather than simply study -- no one will be surprised by the lack of progress when they announce that even the short-term deadlines they have
 

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Great laid plans and studies with no follow through or end result. We need to study how that happens. It's just like the Montgomery Co. intercounty connector. 30 years of studies and plans.........no road. We will be studying how the bay died next. The words Chesapeake Bay and quick fix should never be in the same sentence!.......... IT'S A SHAME.........Gary
 

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Five Reasons to Go Native

Monday, November 17, 2008
By: CBF Staff

Are non-native oysters the solution to the Chesapeake Bay's struggling oyster fishery? We think not.

Support the Native Oyster

Tell the Army Corps of Engineers you support EIS alternative 8A: increasing native oyster restoration, advancing native oyster aquaculture, and improved harvest management.

Send your letter now!

Should non-native Asian oysters (Crassostrea ariakensis) be introduced to the Chesapeake Bay? Here are five reason the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and The Nature Conservancy believe the Bay should stay native.

Introducing the non-native oyster would be an irreversible process with uncertain ecological consequences, and scientists agree that Asian oysters introduced to the Chesapeake would likely spread to the Atlantic Coast.

Asian oysters could lead to extinction of Chesapeake oysters (Crassostrea virginica) in local areas by disrupting reproduction, competing for space, and hosting disease.

The Asian oyster is not a panacea. It is more sensitive to low oxygen levels (a persistent problem in the Bay), more sensitive to a disease found in coastal waters, and more vulnerable to local predators than the Chesapeake oyster.

The Asian oyster concentrates bacteria and viruses at higher levels than the Chesapeake oyster, providing a potential health hazard to consumers.

There's no reason to give up on native oysters. Progress in native oyster aquaculture and restoration techniques make the prospects good for the native Chesapeake oyster.
If you agree that introducing a non-native species to the Chesapeake is not worth the risk, please send this letter to the Army Corps of Engineers and ask them to support the draft Environmental Impact Statement alternative 8A: restoration and aquaculture of the native Chesapeake Bay oyster.

Public comments will be accepted until December 15, 2008.

Resources:

Read the complete text of CBF's position on the Asian oyster introduction.
You can download the Draft EIS from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website at Oyster EIS - Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement - USACE Norfolk District
Read NOAA's overview of the Asian oyster issue at http://chesapeakebay.noaa.gov/docs/oystereisoverview.pdf
For more about the EIS process, visit NOAA's Chesapeake Bay Office website at EIS
 

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The answer is the native oyster, but not on the dinner plate. These oysters must stay in the water and not harvested. When you get caught taking them illegally, there must be a Stiff fine... These oysters are amazing filters and we don't need Asian oysters when we have our own..............Gary
 

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Politicians that won't act.
Laws with no teeth.
Polluters that won't stop.
Violaters that aren't arrested.
Judges that won't enforce.
Offenders who won't desist.
Studies that aren't significant.
Recommendations that aren't followed.
Consumers that won't pay.

C'mon.... that's all we gotta fix.
 
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